All relationships exist on a spectrum from healthy to abusive with unhealthy somewhere in the middle.
Check out the Relationship Spectrum below to see where your relationship falls.
If you feel your relationship may be unhealthy or abusive, give us a call at 1-800-799-7233 or chat live between 7 a.m. and 2 a.m. Central time.
A healthy relationship means that both you and your partner(s) are:
- Communicating: You talk openly about problems and listen to one another. You respect each other’s opinions.
- Respectful: You value each other as you are.
- Trusting: You believe what your partner has to say. You do not feel the need to “prove” each other’s trustworthiness.
- Honest: You are honest with each other, but can still keep some things private.
- Equal: You make decisions together and hold each other to the same standard.
- Enjoying personal time: You enjoy spending time apart, alone or with others. You respect each other’s need for time apart.
- Making mutual sexual choices: You talk openly about sexual and reproductive choices together. All partners willingly consent to sexual activity and can safely discuss what you are and are not comfortable with.
- Economic/financial partners: You and your partner have equal say with regard to finances. All partners have access to the resources they need.
- Engaging in supportive parenting: All partners are able to parent in a way they feel comfortable with. You communicate together about the needs of the child(ren), as well as the needs of the parents.
You may be in an unhealthy relationship if one or more partners is:
- Not communicating: When problems arise, you fight or you don’t discuss them at all.
- Disrespectful: One or more partners is not considerate of the other(s).
- Not trusting: One partner doesn’t believe what the other says, or feels entitled to invade their privacy.
- Dishonest: One or more partners tells lies.
- Trying to take control: One partner feels their desires and choices are more important.
- Only spending time with your partner: Your partner’s community is the only one you socialize in.
- Pressured by the other into sexual activity: One partner uses pressure or guilt on the other to have sex or do anything sexual at any point.
- Ignoring a partner’s boundaries: It is assumed only one partner is responsible for making informed decisions.
- Unequal economically: Finances are not discussed, and/or it is assumed only one partner is in charge of finances.
Abuse is occurring in a relationship when one partner:
- Communicates in a way that is hurtful, threatening, insulting or demeaning.
- Mistreats the other: One partner does not respect the feelings, thoughts, decisions, opinions or physical safety of the other.
- Accuses the other of cheating or having an affair when it’s not true: The partner who accuses may hurt the other in a physical or verbal way as a result.
- Denies that the abusive actions are abuse: An abusive partner may try to blame the other for the harm they’re doing, or makes excuses for abusive actions or minimizes the abusive behavior.
- Controls the other: There is no equality in the relationship. One partner makes all decisions for the couple without the other’s input.
- Isolates the other partner: One partner controls where the other one goes and who they talk to. They may isolate their partner from family and friends.
- Forces sexual activity or pregnancy: One partner forces the other to have sex, or do anything they don’t want to do sexually at any point. In relationships where pregnancy is a physical possibility, one partner may force the other to become pregnant.
- Exerts economic control: One partner controls the money and access to resources. Having an open dialogue about finances is not an option. This may include preventing a partner from earning an income or not allowing a partner access to their own income.
- Engages in manipulative parenting: One partner uses the child(ren) to gain power and control over the other partner, including telling the child(ren) lies or negative things about the other partner.